Most countries in the Middle East and North Africa have made significant progress toward increasing children’s school enrolment, attendance and completion.
The quality of education remains an issue, however, and access is unequal.
Girls are generally at a disadvantage: 1 out of 5 girls of primary-school age and half of secondary-school age girls do not go to school.
Primary school attendance rates vary considerably across the region. They can be as high as 99 per cent for both boys and girls in Jordan, and as low as 67 per cent for boys and 66 per cent for girls in Djibouti.
Education is a key factor in protecting children from labour, early marriage and exploitation. It helps end generational cycles of poverty and disease, and provides a foundation for sustainable development.
In a region blighted by conflict and unrest, schools help children recover a sense of routine, return to normalcy, and access remedial education or alternative learning.
UNICEF engages in evidence-based advocacy for policy reform promoting early childhood development and ensuring provision of quality education for all children, boys and girls alike, including those who are not in school.
It works with partners to promote teachers’ professional development and facilitate the transition from primary to secondary education, thus helping young people improve their employability and acquire life skills.